the interference of Congress in a matter over which, in my opinion, they had no cognizance may establish a precedent of control over our legislature which may be productive of future evil. But the unanimous disapprobation of the principle expressed by the House of Representatives in their rejecting the amendment of the Senate in the first instance and the warm opposition which it met with in the Senate itself gives good ground to hope that no attempt will be hereafter made to revise it.
The petitions from the people living between the Great and Little Miami and above the land patented to Judge [John Cleves] Symmes, which were forwarded to me, were presented to the House of Representatives and the selected committee to whom were referred generally the business relating to lands, were charged to examine into them and to report by bill or otherwise. As I was myself the chairman of this committee, I thought it proper to make my suit whenever the subject of these petitions were under consideration. The committee then consisted of the following members viz: Mr. [Jonathan] Brace of Connecticut, Mr. [Samuel] Lyman of Massachusetts, Mr. [William] Gordon of New Hampshire, Mr. [Albert] Gallatin, of Pennsylvania, Mr. [William Barry Grove] Glove of North Carolina and Mr. [Thomas Terry] Davis of Kentucky; after a very lengthy investigation and discussion of the subject (at which I was always present) a bill was reported containing the unanimous opinion of the committee; the principal features of the bill were that if Judge Symmes, should pay into the treasury of the United States on or before the 1st day of February, 1802, five shillings per acre in specie for the land between his patent line and that which was run by Mr. [Israel] Ludlow from the head spring of the Little Miami to the Great Miami, with the interest from the 15th of July, 1795; the President of the United States should make him a patent for the said land in trust for himself and the persons who had purchased of him and who at the time of the passing of the act were entitled in equity to the land they had contracted for. And if the judge should fail to give notice on or before the 1st day of January next, that he acceded to all the terms and conditions of this act, or should fail to make the payment at the time specified, then the purchasers under him
- In the Annals, 6th congress, 210. The committeeman's name is Grove